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Everything posted by Gareth

  1. The Photographer's Ephemeris is a good site to help plan your astro shoots. It's a paid app for android and ios, but the desktop version is free. It's ideal for predicting the sunsets/moonsets etc. https://photoephemeris.com You could also have a look at photopills, another paid app which allows you to visualise your scenes on location, in real time with augmented reality. https://www.photopills.com I'm a novice astrophotogtapher myself, and have found that planning the shoots ahead of time is well worth it, though as Rico said we've missed the optimum time for the Milky Way this year in the northern hemisphere, but those clear, crisp autumn/winter nights are still worth photographing. Good luck. Gareth.
  2. Not sure how helpful this might be to you, but I too have been having fringing issues - not using the same gear as you, but fringing is fringing! And when the CA correction fails to work sufficiently, this method works well. Anyway, it's an old Photoshop trick so I've learned, and it works well for me....I don't use Lightroom, so again not sure how useful it is to your workflow. 1 duplicate layer 2 apply Gaussian blur at 15 pixels to copied layer 3 set layer mode to 'colour' 4 apply layer mask to bring back colour detail where needed from layer below I'm sure there are quicker ways, but this method saved me where all else failed, though as spacecadet says, if it's too bad, it's probably not worth saving!
  3. Welcome home Bear, glad you're back I'm still trying to get my head around the old RF/RM thing....I'm just playing safe for the time being - any property or people and I go RM editorial, since my port is still quite small it won't be too much effort to change anything should the need arise. Speaking of image numbers....you're off to a flying start....well done sir!
  4. Thanks again, yes I intend to take it to Wex (and Fixation) tomorrow for a clean. Just watched a YouTube video of someone replacing the shutter assembly themselves!....not for the faint hearted, but I won't be doing anything quite so reckless! I'll be taking it slow....and cheap! Gareth.
  5. @M.Chapman Thanks, I appreciate your input, it's both reassuring and worrying! It makes sense....only happens for me when it's been hot and the camera has been in direct sunlight for a little while. I wonder if it would make any difference if I 'loosened' it up prior to taking a shot by giving it a quick 10fps burst? I think I know the answer to that though....I'm grasping at straws! So it looks like I'll be shooting in cooler temperatures from now on - just googled cost for replacement shutter assembly....sobering! Gareth.
  6. Just popped back to the location in the image (only a 10 min drive from where I live) to recreate the conditions, took a spare card also. Couldn't replicate the heat on that particular day, but took some shots, same settings/composition etc, and nothing - no line, just a nice, clear blue sky....and that ruddy church....sick of it now actually! lol Tried it with the old card onto which I shot the original, same deal, nice and clear! I've updated to the latest DNG converter also just in case, but I don't think it was the problem since it's in the RAW file, before it gets anywhere near any processing. The only thing I can think of now is that it was some sort of freak atmospheric condition, or maybe the heat....I just don't get it! It's such a neat line right across the top third....if it's an intermittent glitch, I may have to just live with it and attempt to plan around it when (if?) there's anymore sunny, clear days this year. Oh well, I think I've managed to satisfy myself that while it's annoying, it hasn't wrecked any other images so far, but I'll be taking it in for a sensor clean tomorrow anyway. Many thanks to everyone for your kind advice. Gareth
  7. Yes, but I didn't apply one....honest! I have to agree....now I'm really worried! What's infuriating though, is that I can't seem to replicate it today. All the sky or plain background shots I've taken today show nothing! (Except that blimming dust/oil spot!) Anyway, it's just gone through QC, so I suppose my 'fix' was decent enough - not sure I'll put it on sale though. Gareth.
  8. @spacecadet Just checked again, and it is indeed dead straight and quite sharp....maybe a pixel or two....not looking good....I'm worried now! Annoyingly I can't really compare it to the horizon since I must have levelled it quite well....they're both parallel! Missed Wex today, they shut at 5pm....I'll take it in tomorrow for an assessment and/or clean - not brave enough to do it myself! @Martin P Wilson I found the original RAW file - it was still on my memory card....for once I'm thankful for being lazy!! However, it's still there in the RAW....doesn't show up clearly until I do some tweaks though. I don't think it's a software issue unfortunately, I'm up to date, or at least compatible with my Camera Raw and Photoshop versions (ACR 6.7, PS CS5) I'll change out my memory card for another too, maybe eliminate that as an issue. Haven't had any success replicating the problem today though....I'll keep trying. By the way, is there a trusted way for me to upload a RAW file anywhere, for anyone who wants to take a gander? Gareth
  9. Thanks to everyone for all the advice. I've been trying to replicate the phenomenon today, with no success - cloudy skies here today. Tried to shoot a plain surface with flat light....no line but the 'dust/oil' spot shows clearly. I've checked some earlier images from when I first noticed it, but I can't seem to find any problems with them now! Am I going mad?! Feels like it!! I don't have any of the original RAWs either....I convert to DNG as soon as I get them out of camera (I'm using older software which doesn't recognise the 7dmk2s CR2 files) The image I posted above seems to be the only (worst by far) image I have, so maybe it's a strange, haze effect when shooting directly away from strong sun into a clear blue sky. @Colblimp I haven't done that, (sorry Wim, nerves got the better of me!!) @Inchiquin & @BobD Yes, I see where you're going. @Sprocket I was shocked when I did that.... Probably not worth trying to salvage this image....but it does illustrate the problem....hmm....is there any way to pull this from QC before it's evaluated? As for a sticky shutter blade....could heat affect the shutter action? On the few occasions I've noticed it, it has been very hot....at least 25°C, and in direct sun it felt a lot hotter - the camera felt pretty warm too. @AndrewP Thanks, I tried this, and was not able to see any issue....which is somewhat comforting. @wiskerke I did that also, no line I'm relieved to say. @MDM I agree, in fact I think I'm on my way now, I'm not far from Norwich, and indeed Wex is where I buy most of my gear, so I know them pretty well. I hope it is just a simple clean that is necessary, and not something more serious. Fingers crossed! Thanks again everyone that took time out to respond with advice. Gareth.
  10. Ha ha! I really hope you're right Wim! I haven't yet dared submit one without being 'fixed' first - wouldn't want a failure due to 'banding' and I'm not sure Alamy would believe me! Good idea, thanks - looks like tomorrow (or rather later today) will be a testing day for me. I'll try the breathing trick too - if I can keep my nerves in check!....at least I'll be able to see if my sensor needs professionally cleaning. Thanks for your help and advice Wim. Gareth
  11. Forgive my ignorance, but wouldn't breathing on the sensor possibly leave moisture on it? Or is that the point? Would this 'mist' it up in order to highlight a smear? I must admit, I've always been (perhaps over-) careful about exposing the sensor, never even looked closely at it for fear of getting it dusty! I have only recently begun to shoot landscapes - and it's only been during this recent hot weather that I've been able to shoot clear skies - it doesn't show on cloudy skies....I suppose I should at least be thankful for the changeable weather here in the UK lol, should be back to clouds and rain anytime now! I first noticed it a few weeks ago, but buried my head in the sand like an idiot! But yes, I will go back through my files, there must be at least one with a clear sky....the weather can't have been that bad! Oh, and it's horizontal. Thanks Wim. Gareth
  12. I've never had it professionally cleaned, I just use a puffer gently for dust spots - maybe I should get it properly done. 16 bit Yes - can even be seen on the back of the camera. Seems pretty straight. It is a tonal change though - seems to abruptly change from the darker tone above to the lighter tone below, over maybe a 10 pixel range when zoomed right in. Sorry about the blotchyness - no other processing/NR done! I never thought of this - definitely worth a look. Thanks Wim.
  13. I wonder if there's anyone who can shed any light on an issue I'm having with clear, blue skies? There appears to be a fairly straight, single line running horizontally at about the upper third, across my images of cloudless blue skies. I don't think it's banding, since it's evident straight out of the camera as an unprocessed RAW. And isn't banding a processing artifact? I really hope it's not a defect on my cameras sensor - it's a Canon 7d mk2 - I've tried to find out if it's a particular problem with this camera, but the evidence is inconclusive. I've managed to blend an overlay in photoshop to mask it on some images (feels like cheating!), but this is proving to be an awful lot of work when it interferes with buildings etc. Short of avoiding shooting anything with clear skies (I don't want to do this), I don't really know what to do. Here is a recent image - just basic JPEG processing from the original RAW. (I know about the dust spot on the right before anyone says!) Any help would be gratefully received, thanks. Gareth
  14. Sometimes even wider....the Zeiss Super Q-Gigantar 40mm for example, which has a staggering f0.33 aperture - though only if your first name is 'King of' or 'Queen of'! [**edit**] OK, not a great example - seems this lens was just a publicity stunt, but the Meyer-Optik-Görlitz 50mm f/0.95 prime is real enough.
  15. 13 tries today! I have to admit I lost my patience and began clicking randomly out of sheer frustration....must have got lucky! Those Captcha folks sure do love that grain filter!
  16. I've made a couple of mini soft boxes and diffusers using bits of leftover cardboard, some tin foil and an old bedsheet as a diffuser material - thankfully I found one with only a few stains!!....eww!....did I just type that out loud? I meant to say I found an unused one!....Phew! I think I got away with that! Anyway, they work well enough and cost me nothing. Your pics look pretty good, perhaps a tiny bit on the cool side - a quick WB tweak in LR should fix that, although it could be my monitor! Agreed, wholeheartedly!
  17. I'm probably gonna struggle to reach all the way up to the bottom! Precisely. All the motorsport photography forums that I've looked at, suggest similar advice. With only a handful of events under my belt so far - most of them track days - I have very little (nothing?) to offer, but I'll keep practising, and maybe some day I can get to know some of the local amateur riders, show them my work, perhaps they'll like it perhaps not. I'm sure I'm not undermining the pros - there simply aren't any present on track days anyway....most of the time I'm on my own. I'm having a blast though - never really thought I'd want to shoot motorsport, watch it on tv, but there's something about being there! Gareth.
  18. It certainly is Sally, I've been doing a little research into the legality of motorsport photography (as a hobbyist/amateur photograper) and even the motorsport photography forums seem to be vague. I think, however, I've satisfied myself that for the time being at least, I won't be photographing any actual racing events. Just dug out my old ticket for the British GTs, and sure enough, there it is in tiny print on the back - section 17: The use of photographic equipment is allowed for private non-commercial purposes only. Any other recording or transmission of audio, visual or audio-visual or any information or data by any method in any media relating to the Event or any part of it is prohibited. The ticketholder hereby assigns to MSV (by way of present assignment of future rights) the copyright in any audio, visual or audio-visual materials produced by the ticketholder at the Event. Furthermore, section 18 states that our likenesses may be used without our knowledge, because simply by being there we have given our tacit consent to be filmed by TV cameras and CCTV etc. Understandable and to be expected, but I'm not taking any chances uploading any images, especially if they've got me on film shoving my camera into the drivers faces on the pit lane during the lunchtime pit walk....and then the lawyers put two and two together!! Starsphinx, your advice is spot on. If one wants to make it as a sports photographer (and that's a really big 'if') then it's a matter of starting small at the local level, for free....at least for the foreseeable future! I'm realistic (funkyworms advice is ringing in my ears lol) I'm not getting any younger, my back is shot and my right ankle is kaput, so it's probably never going to happen for me, but I'm having fun at the bike track days, and maybe if I ingratiate myself with some of the local riders, and I get a thumbs up from the Snetterton office, I can upload them here....maybe! Gareth
  19. Thanks for the clarification Martin. Looks like I will be pulling them then. Serves me right for not doing my homework first - I wonder where I stand with track days? No ticket required for these, I should probably go and chat with the press office.
  20. I too live quite close to a sporting venue - a motorsport racing circuit (Snetterton, Norfolk, UK) - that hosts some sizeable national racing events, such as British Touring Car Championships, British Super Bikes and British GTs etc....in fact I'm currently tagging some from the GTs from earlier in the year. I don't have a lot of experience in this field, and indeed Snetterton circuit is the only circuit I've been to, but it has some advantages over many others from around the country so I believe - the low fencing and proximity to the track. Often one can get a similar vantage to the pros, who may only be a matter of a few feet in front of us amateurs. That story of the tog being hit by flying debris is sobering Starsphinx - in my few outings to Snetterton, I've only seen one minor incident, which happened farther down the track from where I was standing - there were no injuries....unless you count injured wallets!...but it's very dangerous, even behind the fencing. I don't think I'll be embarking on a nationwide tour of racing venues any time soon - still learning, but having great fun....car and bike track days are proving invaluable, however, for practising panning skills, and they have the advantage of being free entry too, though as you say MandyD, no famous names. On a side note, I assume any and all images taken at racing venues (or any privately owned sporting arena) are strictly editorial only? I don't want to be treading on anyone's toes, and I certainly don't want to fall foul of racing drivers/teams/venues lawyers! Gareth
  21. A slightly belated welcome from another newcomer Was watching the intro threads for several months before I signed up - goodness there were some 'interesting' characters that popped in and then popped out again! Anyway, saw your intro and thought I'd sign up too, and just like that (a week or so later) I did! It's good here isn't it? Best of luck Gareth
  22. It's a thoroughly nice place to be, here - and even when you're cranky, you're jolly polite about it! I've been on some awful forums over the years - moderated on a few too, I hated suspending people, but had to on occasions - some nasty folks out there, but here feels very relaxed, friendly and helpful. I feel privileged to be even a tiny part of it.
  23. Wow, this thread came alive - glad to see you're no shrinking violet wolf! As another newcomer to both Alamy and photography, I appreciate all the sentiments expressed here....even the harder ones - perhaps it's a veiled challenge to test our mettle, our staying power if you will, it's precisely reading comments like these over the last few months for other Alamy newcomers, that spurred me on to get better and learn and grow, and not to give up. And indeed, as has been pointed out, many simply do not respond and promptly disappear. Glad to see you're not one of them - I'm sure we'll be seeing more from you my friend. I wish you the very best of luck wolf.
  24. I certainly don't consider myself as being in competition with anyone - the vastly more experienced, professional photographers here have nothing to fear from me! I'm just plodding my lil' ol' way through this tough industry and hoping to help anyone I can, whilst appreciating that many here take this very seriously, as indeed they should - it's important. I have a lot of respect for seasoned veterans, but I'm sure we can all agree that dedication and passion is something I would hope we all have in common, and to me that's the first, most important step....loving what you do - furthermore if you love what you do, you will learn fast, and develop the skills, and over time become proficient. Naturally I'm not suggesting that this happens overnight - it takes time and effort. I'm not confident by nature, but when I decided to enter the world of stock a year ago, I had determination and passion, and I buckled down and learned the skills and now I'm here, and I'm nothing special - I just did what Alamy wanted. We all have to start somewhere, and if I can I will help anyone that's willing to listen to my ramblings....which can go on quite a bit as my posts in this thread will demonstrate! Hope everyone here has a fantastic day taking some beautiful images and being the best they can be Gareth [**Ramble mode disengaged, sleep mode engaged**]
  25. You can work your way gradually towards 'going manual' with a DSLR - they will all have 'semi-auto' modes too - things like aperture priority or shutter priority and auto ISO etc. These allow you to adjust for whatever you feel is the most important setting and letting the camera do the rest - for example, shutter priority is very useful when photographing wildlife. If a bird is stationary, simply turn the main dial down to lower the shutter speed, since it's not moving (keeps ISO nice and low), and when it takes off, you can crank that dial right up to freeze the motion in flight with a higher shutter speed. The camera will sort out the rest of the settings - it'll pick the optimum aperture and ISO for that situation, leaving you to just worry about that one setting - though the payoff here is a higher ISO and a noisier image....there's that exposure triangle again, it can be a bit of a balancing act. Similarly, aperture priority will let you adjust the aperture to control depth of field or low light capability, while the camera does the rest. I tend to leave my camera on auto ISO, and adjust the other settings to get as close to ISO 100 as possible - then if there are any light changes and the auto ISO raises a few stops higher, I know I can live with it and tweak it in post. Most of the time, these modes do a pretty good job, but as you progress, and as you've indeed found with your phone, going fully manual is how to gain full control over your images - just takes a bit of practice, but the rewards are certainly worth it. I still fumble my buttons, and I'm sure many others do too - though perhaps they won't admit it but once you've built up some button muscle memory, you'll be fine - although changing focus points in a hurry is a challenge, even for the most experienced tog! There's nothing wrong with full auto however - cameras are awesome these days, they make a pretty good job of getting a good exposure, but ultimately you'll want more flexibility as you get more advanced. Aperture/Shutter priorities are a perfect step up from full auto, and even the most seasoned photographers use them too if the situation calls for it. I think they're great....my tiny brain can only think of one thing at a time anyway!
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